Equality Rocks the Vote

Article excerpt

The groundbreaking gay and lesbian arena concert finds new life as a VH1 special--and as a "get out the vote" tool

It's no accident that the gay and lesbian arena rock show that was April's Equality Rocks will debut as a TV special on October 27, just 11 days before the election. Human Rights Campaign, the lesbian and gay lobbying group that produced the concert, will be tying part of its final pre-election voter awareness drive to the cablecast.

"We're going to build house parties all over the country," says Elizabeth Birch, HRC's executive director, who conceived the show. HRC is launching a grassroots voter turnout effort to coincide with the airing on VH1. ("They care about this issue, and they're supportive of HRC," Birch says of the cable outlet.) "We'll tie [the broadcast] to this notion that we're at a critical juncture in our history. People will literally get `get out the vote' kits [at the parties] as they watch Equality Rocks; they'll get a message on-screen and off about voting."

Birch promises that nothing will be lost in the concert's translation from RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., to viewers' television sets. The spirit of the event, right down to the tremendous ovation and the "sea of love" that greeted celebrity guest Ellen DeGeneres, will be evident--along with the parade of gay and gay-supportive superstar performers, including Melissa Etheridge, Pet Shop Boys, k. …